pregnant woman in her bedroom looking down at her belly and exhaling

Weird Pregnancy Symptoms That Are Considered Normal

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
March 14, 2024

When you’re pregnant, your body is working hard to build this little human—which may also lead to some quirks. You’re likely expecting symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue, but other symptoms may catch you by surprise. Although these body changes may seem strange, they’re usually pretty normal. And most of them are temporary.

Here are some weird pregnancy symptoms you might experience, how you can cope, and when you can expect them to resolve.

Change in How Things Taste

If you’ve lost your taste for your favorite food, you’re not alone. One of the early signs of pregnancy can be dysgeusia, or altered taste buds. Changes in hormones can cause everything you eat or drink to taste either sweet, sour, or bitter. Some people experience a metallic taste during pregnancy.

“Estrogen is most responsible for a sour taste, as this rises rapidly in the first trimester,” says Kimberly Langdon, M.D., an Ohio-based, board-certified ob-gyn with Medzino.

If certain foods taste particularly bad in early pregnancy, do your best to avoid them for now. Your sense of taste will likely return to normal in the second trimester.

Stronger Sense of Smell

A surge in pregnancy hormones can also cause a heightened sense of smell that can last throughout your pregnancy. This symptom affects about two-thirds of pregnant people. “It’s hypothesized that this is to protect the developing baby from possible food contamination,” says Melissa Dean, a licensed midwife and the center director of Casa Natal Birth & Wellness Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There isn’t much you can do about decreasing this sensitivity except wait it out. Your sense of smell should return to normal within two or three months of giving birth.

Foot Growth During Pregnancy

pregnant woman rubbing her foot

You may find you need a bigger shoe size when you’re pregnant. “Shoe size can increase due to increased pressure from increased weight and a hormone called relaxin, which causes the ligaments in the arch to weaken. That flattens the arch,” explains Langdon.

Foot growth tends to affect people most during their first pregnancy, according to one study. If it happens, the change is usually unavoidable and can be permanent after your baby is born.

However, if you’re experiencing swollen feet, the swelling should reduce after you deliver your baby.

Popping Joints and Ligaments

Increased levels of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy helps your pelvis to shift and open up enough for childbirth, Dean explains. In addition to affecting the feet, this hormone can loosen many other joints and cause back and leg pain and popping.

Fortunately, once you give birth, your relaxin levels should return to normal. Your popping joints will, too, Dean says. This may take several months.

Lightning Crotch in Pregnancy

Lightning crotch refers to a sudden, sharp pain in the vagina or pelvis when you’re pregnant. “Lightning crotch happens as your baby grows and descends into your pelvis,” Dean says. “As it moves its head, it can bump your cervix [or push or pull on other pelvic nerves], and that causes a zing.”

It isn’t a sign of anything serious, and it’s not a sign that you’re going into labor. This symptom typically occurs late in the third trimester because your baby is so low in the pelvis, and it will go away once your little one is born. To prevent lightning crotch pain, try wearing a belly support band to help lift and support the baby.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome During Pregnancy

woman experiencing carpal tunnel pain in her wrist

If you have numbness or tingling in your hand or arm, you may be experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. “This occurs when retained fluid—caused by the hormonal changes from pregnancy—soften the ligaments in the wrist, and the nerve is compressed,” Dean says.

Carpal tunnel should subside by six weeks after you give birth. If the discomfort is bothering you or affecting your ability to use your hands, talk to your doctor about hand exercises, wrist splints, or other methods that can help.

Changes in Sex Drive

Changes in libido (or sex drive) are very common in pregnancy because of hormonal fluctuations and other factors. “Sex drive may go up or down because of hormones,” Langdon says. “Fatigue and abdominal discomfort may decrease sex drive. There is also increased vaginal discharge, which may increase sex drive.”

Between being exhausted and nauseous, your sex drive may be lower in the first trimester but then ramp up in the second and third trimesters.

After birth, your libido will likely return over time to how it was before pregnancy. But sleep deprivation while caring for a newborn can affect sex drive, too. ​​ It’s considered normal to have a decreased sex drive for up to the first year after giving birth.

Sore and Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy

Is there anywhere in your body that isn’t affected by hormones during pregnancy? Due to an increase in progesterone, your gums may be more prone to pain and even bleeding. “This is known as pregnancy gingivitis, and it typically happens between months two and eight,” says Dean.

Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist while you’re pregnant. To treat pregnancy gingivitis, you can also gargle with warm salt water, or your doctor can prescribe antibiotics or a mouthwash. It should go away after your baby is born.

Itchy Belly Rash

Late in the third trimester, some people may experience itchy rashes on their bellies. This usually is caused by stretching skin and increased blood flow that happen during pregnancy.

“The liver filters toxins from the blood, but it may have difficulty as blood volume increases,” Dean explains. “So, the liver pushes the toxins out to the skin, causing the rash.”

Tell your provider about any itching or rashes you experience during pregnancy. There are some rashes that are a sign of a problem and others that are simply uncomfortable side effects.

Depending on the cause, your healthcare provider may be able to offer treatment to make you less itchy. Most rashes should resolve shortly after you give birth.

What to Do About Weird Pregnancy Symptoms

Be patient with your body and all you’re experiencing while you’re pregnant—it will all be worth it!

Tell your doctor or midwife about any symptoms you’re having. Some are simply part of pregnancy, but others can be a sign of an issue. Don’t be afraid to reach out and discuss what you’re experiencing.